For weeks my daughter has been playing, “We Three Kings of Orient Are” on the piano as she gets ready for her Christmas recital. It is ironic really, as she is also one who hails from the East. Although we tell her “Oriental is a word that describes rugs. Asian is the word to describe people.” But tell that to someone writing in 1857.
She often sings along as she plays:
“star of wonder, star of light, star with royal beauty bright.”
The star Godly Play always called this star of Bethlehem the “wild star” because it shone so unexpectedly and moved as it willed.
It is gorgeous when you think of it.
My sons sits nearby reading through his new 2015 Almanac that he got for Christmas. He tells me this week we will have the first meteor shower of the year. He even tells me what the best times are to see some starfall action.
I keep meaning to sneak out after they have gone to bed or early in the morning to catch sight of a “shooting star.” To see some wondrous beauty bright. But it has been so cold and cloudy here. All I can want to do is hide under warm covers and let my eyes be heavy.
The same son has been binge watching Cosmos on Netflix. As I am making dinner one night I overhear Neil deGrasse Tyson telling how ancient saw comets and deemed them omens of disaster. How human beings seek patterns, meaning. But correlation does not always equal causation. He details the science of comets orbiting round and round the sun.
But as I stir the soup, I feel for the ancients of old. Of course they were seeking meaning in what surely seemed a sign to their ancient eyes.
Don’t we all want a sign from above? Aren’t we all seeking some pattern in the chaos to make sense of it all? Even if the news is bad?
Star of Wonder, Star of Light, Star with Royal Beauty Bright, Westward Leading, Still Proceeding,
Guide us to Thy Perfect Light.
I sit here this Epiphany and feel almost jealous of the magi. In their ancient naivete or wisdom or both, that star led them to what they were looking for and more.
How I wish for some sign, some light to guide my footfalls in a recognizable path.
But the trick is, that would actually require looking. Wiping the sleep from my tired eyes and lifting my eyes heavenward.
Tonight we have plans to burn our Christmas Greens out back to celebrate the 12th night, this the Epiphany of the Lord. Perhaps as our fire burns wild and free, I’ll look up in search of my own wild star and see my own light streaking across the sky.
I don’t know if it will be bring any order into my chaos. God after is all is little more wild and surprising than I often wish. But perhaps it will still guide. Still bring meaning into the darkness.
For if nothing else, it will remind me of the baby king. The one who came in unexpected mystery to walk with us.
And maybe tonight that is enough.